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The Next 25 Years of WIRED Start Today

In the first issue of WIRED, published 25 years ago this year, founding editor Louis Rossetto declared that “in the age of information overload, THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IS MEANING AND CONTEXT.” (Caps his.) If anything, that simple observation rings even truer today. That’s why WIRED has always valued depth. We dig deep into our subjects, reveling in wonky engineering details that other publications skip. We think deep thoughts about the future. And we form deep relationships with our audience—connecting them to a community of ideas and encouraging them to think harder about the future they want to inhabit.

For most of our history our business model, primarily built on advertising, rewarded that depth. Advertisers are eager to connect with our sophisticated audience, and WIRED remains the best way to reach them. But in recent years, that industry has proven fickle and tumultuous, and a too-slender reed upon which to hang our entire business.

That’s why today we are launching a paywall—a business that rewards our connection to our audience and will help us keep WIRED a home for unique, surprising, challenging, and sophisticated journalism for the next quarter-century and beyond.

Careful readers may note here that, as the voice of the digital revolution, we have hewed to Stewart Brand’s famous notion that “information wants to be free,” a declaration that some have interpreted to mean that nobody should ever pay for digital content. But read the rest of Brand’s statement: “On the one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it is so valuable,” he told Steve Wozniak in 1984. “The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” That tension persists today. Even as information has become cheap or free to distribute, we believe that quality information—built on great reporting, vivid writing, and illuminating insight—remains valuable.

By subscribing to WIRED, you can help us continue our legacy of fresh insights, deep reporting, stunning design, and beautiful writing. The details are here, but in a nutshell: If you read four articles in a month, you will be invited to subscribe to read further. If you subscribe, you not only get unlimited access to WIRED.com and a print subscription, you’ll also receive a free YubiKey—a crucial tool for protecting yourself online. You’ll get access to a digital edition of our magazine, delivered fresh to your tablet every month. And when you visit us online, we’ll take out the ads.

But the real benefit of your subscription is that you’ll ensure that we can continue producing great stories and content. To that end, we want to announce three new programs we’re launching with the paywall. First, we’re happy to introduce the all-new Backchannel—a home for our most ambitious digital long-form journalism. Our long features are routinely the most popular on our site, and that’s why we are building a special home for them—and doubling our investment in producing them.

Next, we’d like to unveil our new Ideas section. WIRED has always prided itself on what we call mind grenades—expansive, surprising ideas that change the way the world thinks. We are now dedicating a section of our website to publishing the biggest ideas from the most exciting thinkers in the world—including MIT MediaLab head Joi Ito, Magic and Loss author Virginia Heffernan, Big Chicken author Maryn McKenna, and Jason Pontin, the former editor of MIT Technology Review.

Finally, we are unleashing an entirely new kind of story—WIRED Guides. These are definitive, authoritative guides to the most important subjects in the WIRED world. Need an update on the state of drone technology? Don’t know the difference between supervised and unsupervised artificial intelligence? Want to finally understand how the blockchain works? WIRED Guides have you covered, with enlightening essays and links to great stories from WIRED’s unparalleled archives.

For a quarter-century, WIRED has watched as the internet has rewritten everything about journalism and media—who creates it, what we expect from it, and how we support it. And yet, at heart, Louis’ central observation in our launch issue is as true today as it was 25 years ago—when mere information is cheap and plentiful, context and meaning are more valuable than ever. The paywall refocuses our business around that simple truth.

A New WIRED

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/announcing-wired-paywall/

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